Turning to Syria, we are concerned about the safety and protection of more than 4 million civilians in the north-west — more than half of whom are internally displaced — following reports of airstrikes and shelling this week.
Artillery shelling reportedly affected at least 22 communities in Idlib and northern Lattakia Governorate, and one community in western Aleppo Governorate. Local reports suggest that at least three people were killed, including a child, and that at least 26 people were injured, including nine children and four women.
We urge all parties, and those with influence over the parties, to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, in line with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.
COVID-19 — Comoros
And an update from our colleagues working to address COVID-19 in Comoros, where there are more than 300 confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven deaths:
The UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Matthias Naab, is working closely with authorities to tackle the crisis, mobilizing funds and providing support in the areas of health, socioeconomic recovery, community engagement, and helping the most vulnerable people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working to enhance local testing and clinical capacity, while the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners have provided an ambulance and 1,000 COVID-19 tests to regional treatment centres.
The Government of Comoros is gradually reopening schools, and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has donated cleaning supplies and masks to prevent infections. For its part, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has partnered with authorities and national NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to organize virtual discussions to support the arts.
From Somalia, in a joint statement, the United Nations and our international partners welcome the democratization process in Somaliland and welcome an agreement between political parties to conduct local council and parliamentary elections in 2020.
The statement says that this landmark agreement presents new opportunities to advance preparations for the elections. It also says that having all Somalilanders being part of the process, notably the large majority of young women and men who have never voted for their representatives or had the opportunity to be elected, is of utmost importance for the democratic credentials and the stability of Somaliland.